The definition of marriage as the union of a man a woman will soon be added to the constitution of El Salvador.
As lawmakers considered the reform in the national assembly, homosexual activists confronted evangelical christians in protests outside.
"Hello, deputies. We are here," said one protestor. "The bees have arrived to make life impossible for you."
Some legislators said the issue was relevant to El Salvador's many national problems.
"The only way out of the problems we live with, the crisis in the economy, delinquency and immorality, the only thing that can save us is Christian principles," said legislator Guillermo Almendariz.
Although gay marriages have never been legal in El Salvador, one of the country's international agreements would give recognition to homosexual couples married outside the country. It would also allow adoptions by gay couples.
These issues sparked the controversy, with Catholics and evangelicals actively defending traditional values.
"If we destroy the values that exalt a nation, that nation will also fall," said Pastor Numa Rodezno. "So I believe it's important for us to understand this brings destruction, a degrading of human beings made in the likeness of God."
"Now they're converting them to a worse likeness, much lower than the likeness of an animal, as homosexual men have relations with men and women with women," he added.
During the debate, evangelicals and homosexuals demonstrated in front of the National Assembly. The gay community argued that the reform an attack on their freedoms.
"It threatens the rule of law and makes it clear that some of us Salvadoran are different and less valued," said Wilfredo Hernandez of the gay rights group Among Friends.
At the end of the day, lawmakers voted unanimously for the traditional definition of marriage, and pledged to finalize the reform when they initiate their new session this month.